Review: Bumpin Uglies – Beast From The East

Posted on Friday, April 6th, 2018 at 5:13 pm
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Bumpin Uglies – Beast From The East
bumpin-uglies-beast-from-the-east1.) Could’ve Been Great
2.) City by the Bay
3.) Crazy
4.) Hard Liquor (feat. Oogee Wawa, Sun-Dried Vibes Ballyhoo!)
5.) Budtender (feat. Gary Dread)
6.) The Waiting Game
7.) All in Stride (feat. Passafire)
8.) Officer O’Herlihy
9.) Radio (feat. Tropidelic)
10.) Show Must Go On
11.) Apathy
12.) Optimism in F#

The Pier Album Rating:
Stand Out Tracks: “Crazy”, “The Waiting Game”, “All In Stride”, “Optimism in F#”
Release Date: April 6th, 2018
Record Label: Space Duck Records
Official Website: Bumpin Uglies Website

Artist Background:
Bumpin Uglies is a four piece band from Annapolis, Maryland. Their music catalog goes back to 2011, with 10 releases that include full-length albums, EPs, and one live album. Their music is a style of its own: a lyrically-driven mix of reggae, ska, punk, and rock. The band consists of Brandon Hardesty (guitar/vocals), Dave Wolf (bass), TJ Haslett (drums), and Chad Wright (keys/guitar/vocals).

Album Review:
Beast From The East wastes no time, opening with its foot on the gas pedal in “Could Have Been Great.” This riff-driven, reggae-rock song is definitely more rock than reggae, a path taken by few in this genre. The addition of Wright on keys adds a new layer to not just this song, but the entire album.

This album has something for everyone, from hip-hop to harder rock, with stripped-down ballads in between. The range on this album is a testament to the talent of this group. “Apathy,” for example, opens with an acoustic guitar, has rapped verses, and closes with an instrumental breakdown that borders on synth rock and heavy metal. Likewise, “All In Stride” rides on a tight bassline from Wolf and flourishes with guest vocals from Ted Bowne (Passafire), a mid-song tonality shift, and incredible horn work from Tropidelic’s Derek McBryde and Frank Toncar. “The Waiting Game” plays a similar hand tonality wise, with minory verses and a bright, catchy chorus.

Anyone who knows Bumpin Uglies knows one thing for sure: Hardesty knows how to write lyrics. Beast From The East is no exception to that maxim. Some of the rapping seems repetitive, but the lyrics remain fresh and topic-oriented. For a white dude from suburban Maryland, known for his acoustic guitar and harmonious voice, Hardesty has a definite flow (see his second verse in “Hard Liquor”).

The album closes with the brutally honest “Optimism in F#,” a track where Hardesty held nothing back. His level of complete introspection in this song is admirable, and opens it up as a sort of modern day, relatable anthem on hard times and pushing on.

It’s hard to talk about Bumpin’ Uglies without Ballyhoo! finding their way into the conversation. Both bands are out of Maryland, both bands mix reggae with elements of ska and punk, and the bands play together often. Howi Spangler, Ballyhoo!’s frontman, produced and is even featured on this very album (“Hard Liquor”). Musically, Beast From The East is the record that separates the Uglies from their big brother Ballyhoo!. Although the Ballyhoo! influence is still there, it’s not as patent and ubiquitous as it was on Keep It Together (2016).

Overall, Beast From The East is a solid album. Named for the many features of East Coast reggae artists (Howi Spangler, Ted Bowne, basically all of Tropidelic, Gary Dread of The Movement, Zach Fowler of Sun-Dried Vibes, and Jesse Lee of Oogee Wawa), this album is not one to overlook. Play it in your car, and play it loud; those basslines bump.

Written Reviewed By: Aidan Leddy

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art contribution]

Listen: Bumpin Uglies – “Hard Liquor” (ft. Howi Spangler of Ballyhoo!)

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